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In the Harry Potter books and films, the forces for good magic are victorious while Voldemort is destroyed and the wizards who practice the dark arts are vanquished.  The good characters presumably go on to live happily ever after, continuing to practice their good forms of magic.

In The Lord of the Rings, however, the conclusion has a bittersweet tone.  Despite the fact that Frodo and Sam destroy the one ring on Mount Doom, their victory is not without its costs, for magic fades from Middle Earth.   A potent sense of loss permeates the final third of The Return of the King.  It is their respective conclusions that distinguish these two epics:  the Harry Potter saga remains a fairy tale, perhaps the greatest and most imaginative fairy tale ever written; The Lord of the Rings is something more profound.

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